Black History Month Reception in the Special Collections Research Center

blackutopiasThe Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is helping to celebrate Black History Month with a viewing of the current exhibition “Black Utopias,” co-curated by Professor Joan Bryant and SCRC Director Lucy Mulroney.

A reception will be held Wednesday, Feb. 10,  from 5-6 p.m. in Bird Library.

“Black Utopias” commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the best-selling narrative of one of the most prominent men of the Civil Rights era.

This anniversary holds special significance for Syracuse University because the Libraries' Special Collections Research Center is home to the records of Grove Press, the avant-garde publisher of the Autobiography. Grove hailed the book as one of its "most important" publications. The first printing of 10,000 copies sold out before it was released in October 1965.

“Black Utopias” takes the personal transformations that form the narrative arc of Malcolm X’s Autobiography as the framework for exploring a range of utopian visions that have shaped Black American life. Although utopias are, by definition, the stuff of dreams, the examples presented in this exhibition are firmly rooted in historical experiences of subjugation, inequality and injustice. They are at once visionary and modest endeavors to craft worlds of freedom, unity, power, equality and beauty.

Syracuse University Libraries’ exhibition, "Black Utopias," features the handwritten letter that Malcolm X sent to Alex Haley during his pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as other unique and rare materials from the collections. It includes documents by little-known individuals and such prominent figures as W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Madam C. J. Walker, James Ford, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The exhibition will be on display through April 15.

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